Molasses and Black Pepper Quail with Rum, Honey and Grape Reduction

By Marge Perry & David Bonom

For a beautiful and elegant meal, serve two quail per person—and by all means encourage diners to pick up the legs and eat with their hands!

  • Yield: Makes 8 servings
  • Course: Dinner

All you need for this recipe and more...



  • 16 whole quail
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/3 cup dark rum
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups seedless red grapes, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Set one rack in the lower third and one in the upper third of the oven.

2. Place the quail in a large bowl and toss with the oil, cumin, allspice and salt. Combine the molasses, honey, rum and pepper in a separate bowl. Pour half of the molasses mixture over the quails and toss well. Truss the quail with butcher’s twine then 8, breast side up, onto each of 2 Anolon Advanced (11 x 17-inch) baking sheets. 

3. Roast the quail 10 minutes then rotate the baking sheets both top shelf to bottom and front to back. Roast 10 minutes longer until the skin is nicely browned and the quail is cooked through but still slightly pink near the bone, about 155°F on an instant read thermometer. 

4. Meanwhile, for the sauce heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the rum; return to the heat, bring to a boil and cook until nearly evaporated, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the honey and vinegar, return to a boil and cook until syrupy, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the grapes and salt, return to a simmer and cook until grapes wilt slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until melted. Spoon sauce over quail to serve.